Friday, March 15, 2013

Sawyer is 13 Months Old

It's so crazy that one year has already come and gone.  I can't believe that my baby is not officially a "baby" anymore (of course she will always be my baby).  1 year and 1 month..... so weird.  Where has the time gone?  Unfortunately today she is not feeling very good.  She is running a temperature and teething.  Yuck. {Obviously no picture from today because she is not in a camera mood.  The one from above will have to do.  It was taken last week.}

Darling little love:

- You are not walking yet.  I know it will happen any day now though.  You are furniture walking, and you can balance standing up.  You don't seem to have any confidence in yourself that you can stand by yourself for too  long.  At church the other day you did take one baby little step before you squatted down making sure not to have to balance for too long.
- You have your four front teeth on top and bottom and on the bottom right you cut a new back tooth a few days ago.  You have three more between the top and bottom that are trying to come through.  It appears that you are in quit some pain.  Poor girl.
- A week ago we weaned you from your pacifier and you've done great!  (Minus getting sick the past few days.)  I've been so impressed with how you have just fallen asleep all on your own without having to have the pacifier.  It's just been a little bit more difficult to get you back to sleep if you wake up in the middle of your nap-- but you are getting there.  I was worried you would start sucking your thumb, but so far you haven't-- yeah!  To be honest I thought that it would have been a more difficult process with you because you were so attached to it.
- We are in the middle of weaning you from breastfeeding.  We are down to one feeding a day.  You are doing great, and haven't seemed to notice or mind that your not taking breastmilk as frequently.
- Speaking of milk- you've transitioned great into drinking whole milk-- as long as it has a little Ovaltine in it to sweeten it up some.  :)
- You eat pretty much everything that we do,  but you have an opinion about what it is.  You don't like avocados for sure, and several other things, but I can't think off the top of my head. :)
- You certainly understand the word "no" and don't like it when we use it in regards to something you are doing.  You quickly stop when we say "no."  You seem like so far you are one who will want to please easily.
-  You are so laid back and chill.  You don't seem to get frustrated or upset easily.
- You are pretty independent.  You play by yourself great!
- You are wearing 12 month clothing.
- Your curls seem to get looser and looser the more your hair grows out.  If we don't assist your curls at all then when your hair drys it appears to be straight with a little wave to it.... kinda like the best of both worlds.
- You take 2 naps a day.  About 2 hours each.
- You are starting to recognize signing now. You have started signing "done" and "more" but I don't think you quite understand what they mean yet.

My sweet little girl, you are just so precious.  You have been so much fun & I have just loved watching your little personality develop.  You are a joy to be around & I still love how much you like to cuddle with me.  Your little smile is to die for!  Thank you for being such a sweet little baby girl.  I love you more than words can say.  My heart truly is crazy for you. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Picture Post

So, like always, I'm a little behind in my blogging.  Big surprise I know.  Here are a few pictures that I found that I thought I'd share:

Love my girls!

Because this is how most of our picture attempts go..... 

Kennedie has been loving dressing up lately.
This just makes my heart happy, because this is Kennedie when she is happy!

And didn't it snow again in January... yep, it sure did.  Here are some pictures of that second snow a few months late:

Kennedie loves to play with her baby dolls.  She will be such a good Mommy one day when she is much older.  On this particular day she had to have ALL her babies with her.... she lined them up herself to take a picture, and then lined them all up on her kitchen while she cooked.  So sweet:

And a few more pictures....

So, there you have it... a few pictures to play catch up since January!  Happy March!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Party Planning on the Cheap 101

Yes.  I am that crazy party planning Mommy.  I very-well know that my children do not care about the elaborate parties that I throw them, but it is a fun outlet for me & a visible way of showing them how much I want to celebrate them.

Parties need not be expensive though.  Seriously.  If you know me, then you know that I am CRAZY frugal, cheap, thrifty--- pick any of those words you like.  I am a stay-at-home mom and wife of a youth minister... there is not exactly alot of extra cash laying around for me to party plan.... so I'm resourceful.


Well, I'm glad that you asked.  Here is a list of some of the top things I would recommend to throw a beautiful and yet cost effective party.

1. Plan in advance.  Way in advance.  I mean... I started thinking about Sawyer's first birthday party when she was like 3 months old (or possibly sooner).  I didn't have a set "theme" or know exactly what I wanted, but I started thinking about it and "pinning" ideas on Pinterest of different things that caught my eye.  I think the more you rush a party together the more you end up spending in the long run.  If you plan far enough in advance then you can watch when things are on sale or have plenty to time to ask people if you can borrow things.  Which brings me to point two.
2. Borrow, borrow, borrow.  Most of what I use at my parties for decor I borrow.  I think about things that I have around the house, or things that I can easily get my hands on from my mom's house, grandmothers', aunts, mother-in-law, or friends.  Just make sure you write down what you borrowed from who so that you can return it all to the correct person without forgeting something. This kinda goes hand in hand with point three.
3. Share.  I have shared some of my stuff with other friends for their parties, and in turn they don't mind sharing with me.  But you also have to share your party ideas with people.  For example, I was talking to a friend about my ideas for Sawyer's 1st party and I "shared" with her the color scheme, and she was like,"Oh, I have some brown tissue paper poms left over from another party.  You can use them if you like." Perfect.  $6 saved.
4. Coupon.  Do not EVER, I repeat EVER go into Michaels, JoAnnes, or Hobby Lobby without a coupon.  Even if I go in to one of those stores to buy something that is only $2 I bring my coupon.  Sometimes they'll have 40% off, or a 50% off, or a 25% off your whole purchase including sale items (that's when I'll buy several things if needed).  This is another reason to plan in advance.  Sometimes I'll go in to get one item & use a coupon.  I'll do this several times a week or a month if I'm near one of the stores.  That way I don't go in for a long list of items and only get to use my coupon once (unless it's the 25% off of entire purchase coupon).
5. Barter.  I have a friend who is a baker magician.  She is incredible.  Not only are things beautiful, but they taste amazing too.  We've recently bartered.  I'll take pictures for her family if she does baked goods for my parties.  Score!  I also have a friend whom we've bartered pictures for invitation designs.  You may think... "I don't have anything I could barter with someone."  Sure you do.  Offer a free babysitting night or something.  Or offer to help them set up a party or cook something for them.  Be creative.  Or maybe you don't think you know anyone that could help.  Just ask on Facebook if anyone does design or baking or cooking.  Or if you know your mom makes a killer pie then do pies for desert.
6. Make your own.  Whatever you see on Pinterest or a party blog try to make it yourself.  Yes, it would be way easier to buy whatever it is, but try to do it yourself.  Just google it and I'm sure you can come up with a DIY template somewhere.  Keep in mind that it doesn't have to be perfect or be able to last for years and years.  It has to stay together for a few hours. Hello hot glue.  Seriously.  Hot glue and I are really tight.
7. Big Impact.  Try to think of things that will make a big impact.  One of the things I learned early on is that somethings just aren't worth my time.  I made like 8,000 paper flower things for Kennedie's first birthday.  I'm not saying I should've bought them or anything, but they didn't make a big impact and probably most people looked them over.  I've learned that backdrops and tissue poms and things hanging make a big impact.  Sometimes bigger is better (but not always).
8. Be personal.  Well, if possible.  Kennedie LOVES waffles.  So, her 2nd birthday party was a waffle bar.  It meant something to her & it was something she got super excited about.  She LOVES, LOVES, LOVES going to the park and she loves Curious George.... any guesses what her 3rd birthday party will be?
9. Use what you have.  If a color scheme is yellow, then pull out anything that you have that is yellow-- paper, material, paint, frames, boxes, wrapping paper, vases, etc.  Try to figure out a way to use it if possible.  I would try to pick a color scheme that would allow you to use things you already have in that color.
10.  Spray paint.  Spray paint whatever you can.  Hit up a thrift store or "shop" around your house for things that could go with your party but may not be the "right" color.  Paint it if you can.
11. Go to the dollar store before the party store.  Dollar Tree is amazing.  Really.  It's got some of the best deals, and get this... it really all is $1. They also have plates, napkins, & plasticware.  Yes, getting those super cute paper plates at the party store with the cool design on them would be awesome for your party, but they are $8.99 for 8.  Really?  For plates?  No thank you.  I'll take a 10 pack for a dollar in a plain color.
12. Don't invite everyone.  I know.  This is probably the hardest thing for me.  When I'm planning a super cute party I want everyone and their Momma there to see it.  If I'm going to be planning it for centuries in advance of course I want the whole world there to see all my hard work.  BUT, the more people typically equals more stress and more money.  You have more cupcakes to order, cookies to bake,  food to make, plates to buy, etc.  The fewer the people the easier it is on your wallet.  Also little things like- if you want everyone to drink from a Mason jar and you have 50 guests- that's 50 jars, or 20 guests = 20 jars.  Simple things like that.  Sometimes getting more "bang for your buck" means having less people there to party with you.
13. Party location.  Try to have your party in a location that is free.... like your house, or your Mom's, or even a park. Party locations that you have to rent can be very costly.
14. Food.  If you plan a party in between meal times then you can cut costs on food by only offering snack.  Be careful though.  I learned my lesson here.  Sometimes snacks can cost just as much as offering a meal.  We did a waffle bar for Kennedie's party last year and that was super cost effective.  Do you know how cheap waffle batter is to make? Potato soup also was very cheap at Sawyer's party and it went far. Try to make whatever you can on your own.  The second you cater out you add $$$.
15. Think holiday.  What holiday comes before your party?  If Christmas is before, maybe think about using red or green as one of your colors.  Or if it's after Easter, think about using pastels in your color scheme.  By doing this you'll find some great items that are typically marked down at least 50% after the holiday.

That's all I can think of right now.  I'm sure that there are lots more, but that's what comes to mind first off.

I'm not posting all of this because I think I am some expert party planner or anything.  I'm throwing this out there to let you know what I've learned over the past few years.  I'm sure there are more amazing tips out there, and I'd love to know what they are (please share!) - but these are just a few things I've found that are helpful to me.

Over the last two years I have learned that I really enjoy party planning.  I like dreaming of ideas, crafting & making things, seeing how "cheaply" (or free) I can pull a party off that still looks like a million bucks, photographing, and finally actually partying with friends and family.

I have thought about it, and I think why I like throwing parties is because it's very tangible.  When you are a stay-at-home mom alot of what we do cannot be seen or measured at the end of the day.  Oh sure, you can see all the toys everywhere or the dishes pilled in the sink or the laundry-- but you can't see all the meaningful moments in between.  And so, I think that's one reason why I like to party plan.  I can think up a party "image" in my head, and set out to recreate it.  I can measure, cut, glue, etc. while the girls sleep.  Each day I can make some small thing that I can see and hold & know I've crafted something.  And the party... well that's just the culminating event.  Before that I've come up with ideas, I've "shopped" at my mom's and grandmothers' house's, I've crafted things, & I've cooked. When the party arrives I can step back & tangibly "see" something that I've done.... it all comes together. So, let's party on people!

Sawyer Turns ONE!

So a few weeks ago we had Sawyer's first birthday party!  It was so much fun and we were grateful for all of our family and friends that were able to make it.  Here are a few pictures (there are more on my facebook page if you want to see more):

Beautiful front & back invitation designed by my friend Natalie.   

Front door.
Room placement.
Table decor.

High chair

Cake Time.



Check out that beautiful cake & cupcakes!
Beautiful ombre rose cake made by my friend Andrea. 
Home-made peanut butter cookies with chocolate hearts.  This was my great-grandmothers cookie jar.

Heart garland, knotted fabric bunting.

Green chile and potato chowder with toppings & french bread.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart" sugar cookies.

Family picture.  Poor Kennedie woke up with a crick in her neck and wanted nothing to do with partying. Please ignore her not looking. 

How it came to be:
I knew I wanted to have a "heart" party since her birthday is the day after Valentine's Day, but I wanted to steer clear of it looking to Valentine's-ish.  I knew I had to use our huge farmhouse table that Lantz made and so since it's a dark brown I immediately decided that brown would be one of her party colors.  I thought I might use brown, white, and pops of red, but the more I toyed with the idea the more I decided that the red was starting to look cliche with the hearts and kinda cheapy.  So... I finally decided on just doing shades of brown,creams, and whites.  I knew brown could be dark and rather masculine, so I tried to "girly" it up with plenty of lace and hearts.

One of our best friends Natalie designed her birthday invitation.  She did such an amazing job creating a beautiful invitation to help set the mood of her party.  She is INSANELY talented!  I was amazed at how she took my ideas and totally created this beautiful design.  If you have ANY design needs you should totally contact her or visit her Etsy shop.  You can get to her Etsy shop by clicking HERE.

One of my sister's wedding colors was brown, and so that opened up many borrowing possibilities from my mom.  :) I also wanted a slight vintage flair!

Valentine's Day was still in full swing so that allowed me to easily get my hands on white heart doilies and some heart chocolates-- plus lots of Pinterest DIY crafts (just altered the color from reds to browns).

I wanted it to have this "handmade" feel.  Hence the embroidery hoops with little messages, buttons, wooden spools of thread, rickrack, loose knotted fabric bunting, quilt fabric in middle of table, "home-made" cookie jar, and book page heart garland.

As a part time photographer I knew I wanted pictures to be displayed around.

I collaborated with my good friend Andrea to help me decorate the heart sugar cookies.  She also made her smash cake and cupcakes.  I knew I wanted a brown "ombre" cake with roses.  To go with the cake I asked her to also make roses with the icing on the cupcakes.  I just LOVE how it all turned out!  Not only did it all look BEAUTIFUL, it went with the party perfect, and tasted great! She is one talented lady-- contact me if you want her information.

I knew I wanted to serve a meal.  At Kennedie's party I ended up doing lots of "snacky" things, but for Sawyer's I knew I wanted to have one main "meal" with sweets.  I wanted to do soup since it was February and would most likely be could, and I figured it would be easy to keep warm in my crockpot.  I decided on a favorite potato soup recipe that our family has enjoyed.  This was perfect because it's actually better as a day old soup because all the flavors meld together better.  So, I made it all on Friday and just had to warm it up on Saturday.

I found Sawyer's outfit online for super cheap.  Since petti-rompers are more popular in summer- this outfit was a steal.  :)

I was able to borrow some of the brown tissue poms from a friend who had some leftover from one of her parties! Score!

There you have it!  The first year party done & now to start thinking about the second year! ;)

Sawyer's One Year Portraits

I can't believe that the big day has already come and gone.  Above is a little "eye candy" of my precious little Sawyer.  I had fun taking these sweet little pictures to document her turning one.